Apostle Timothy of the Seventy; Monkmartyr Anastasius the Persian

1. The Holy Apostle Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor. Saint Timothy was converted to Christ in the year 52 by the holy Apostle Paul (June 29). When the Apostles Paul and Barnabas first visited the cities of Lycaonia, Saint Paul healed one crippled from birth. Many of the inhabitants of Lystra then believed in Christ, and among them was the future Saint Timothy, his mother Eunice and grandmother Loida (Lois) (Acts 14:6-12; 2 Tim. 1:5).

The seed of faith, planted in Saint Timothy’s soul by the Apostle Paul, brought forth abundant fruit. He became Saint Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in the preaching of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul loved Saint Timothy and in his Epistles called him his beloved son, remembering his devotion and fidelity with gratitude.

He wrote to Timothy: “You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, and patience” (2 Tim. 3:10-11). The Apostle Paul appointed Saint Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus, where the saint remained for fifteen years. Finally, when Saint Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, he summoned his faithful friend, Saint Timothy, for a last farewell (2 Tim. 4:9).

Saint Timothy ended his life as a martyr. The pagans of Ephesus celebrated a festival in honor of their idols, and used to carry them through the city, accompanied by impious ceremonies and songs. Saint Timothy, zealous for the glory of God, attempted to halt the procession and reason with the spiritually blind idol-worshipping people, by preaching the true faith in Christ.

The pagans angrily fell upon the holy apostle, they beat him, dragged him along the ground, and finally, they stoned him. Saint Timothy’s martyrdom occurred in the year 93.

In the fourth century the holy relics of Saint Timothy were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles near the tombs of Saint Andrew (November 30) and Saint Luke (October 18). The Church honors Saint Timothy as one of the Apostles of the Seventy.

In Russian practice, the back of a priest’s cross is often inscribed with Saint Paul’s words to Saint Timothy: “Be an example to the believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

2. The Monk Martyr Anastasius the Persian was the son of a Persian sorcerer named Bavi. As a pagan, he had the name Magundates and served in the armies of the Persian emperor Chozroes II, who in 614 ravaged the city of Jerusalem and carried away the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord to Persia.

Great miracles occurred from the Cross of the Lord, and the Persians were astonished. The heart of young Magundates was inflamed with the desire to learn more about this sacred object. Asking everyone about the Holy Cross, the youth learned that upon it the Lord Himself was crucified for the salvation of mankind.

He became acquainted with the truths of the Christian Faith in the city of Chalcedon, where the army of Chozroes was for a certain while. He was baptized with the name Anastasius, and then became a monk and spent seven years in one of the Jerusalem monasteries, living an ascetical life.

Reading the Lives of the holy martyrs, Saint Anastasius was inspired with the desire to imitate them. A mysterious dream, which he had on Great and Holy Saturday, the day before the Resurrection of Christ, urged him to do this.

Having fallen asleep after his daily tasks, he beheld a radiant man giving him a golden chalice filled with wine, who said to him, “Take this and drink.” Draining the chalice, he felt an ineffable delight. Saint Anastasius then realized that this vision was his call to martyrdom.

He went secretly from the monastery to Palestinian Caesarea. There he was arrested for being a Christian, and was brought to trial. The governor tried in every way to force Saint Anastasius to renounce Christ, threatening him with tortures and death, and promising him earthly honors and blessings. The saint, however, remained unyielding. Then they subjected him to torture: they beat him with rods, they lacerated his knees, they hung him up by the hands and tied a heavy stone to his feet, they exhausted him with confinement, and then wore him down with heavy work in the stone quarry with other prisoners.

Finally, the governor summoned Saint Anastasius and promised him his freedom if he would only say, “I am not a Christian.” The holy martyr replied, “I will never deny my Lord before you or anyone else, neither openly nor even while asleep. No one can compel me to do this while I am in my right mind.” Then by order of the emperor Chozroes, Saint Anastasius was strangled, then beheaded. After the death of Chozroes, the relics of the Monk Martyr Anastasius were transferred to Palestine, to the Anastasius monastery.

Tr by oca.org

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